Former U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York Preet Bharara admitted in a Tuesday interview that he “tend[ed] to believe” that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was being serious when he suggested secretly recording President Donald Trump.
While appearing in an interview on MSNBC’s “The Beat with Ari Melber,” Bharara — who was fired three months into the Trump presidency — was asked about the phone conversations he had with President Trump about two years ago, where the former U.S. attorney said that he “seriously considered” recording the president.
“In that moment, we actually considered — and it sounds not as crazy as it did back then because we know about Michael Cohen recording the president and Omarosa [Manigault Newman] recording the president. We considered it.”
Bharara was then pressed on whether he meant he thought about “taping the president in that phone call,” which he confirmed. He went on to say that he “wanted to make sure because I had a certain amount of mistrust” regarding the phone call, as “it was an odd phone call to be making.”
Then, Bharara dropped that he “tend[ed] to believe” that Rosenstein “was not joking” about wearing a wire while meeting with the president.
“That’s why this whole debate about whether Rod Rosenstein was joking when he said ‘I’ll wire up against the president’ or not sort of rung in my ear a little bit. And I tend to believe that he was not joking.”
Watch the video here:
NEW: Former U.S. Attorney @PreetBharara tells @AriMelber he believes Deputy AG Rosenstein "was not joking" when he reportedly spoke about taping Trump because he himself "considered… taping the President" pic.twitter.com/REIIL77zbz
— TheBeat w/Ari Melber (@TheBeatWithAri) March 19, 2019
The Department of Justice rebuked claims made by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe during his bombshell “60 Minutes” interview last month, where McCabe alleged that Rosenstein discussed invoking the Constitution’s 25th Amendment.
A spokesperson for the Justice Department said there was “no basis” for invoking the amendment, and that Rosenstein was not “in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment.”
The Twenty-Fifth Amendment codified the presidential line of succession while also creating a provision that allows for the removal of the president by the Vice President and the “a majority of either officers” in the Cabinet “or of such other body of Congress” should the president be “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”